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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Structure and Developmental Changes in the Tergal Glands of Adult Females of Coptotermes Formosanus (Isoptera, Rhinotermitidae)

Authors
item Raina, Ashok
item Park, Yong
item Ingber, Bruce
item Murphy, Charles

Submitted to: Arthropod Structure and Development
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2005
Publication Date: March 20, 2005
Citation: Raina, A.K., Park, Y.I., Ingber, B.F., Murphy, C.A. 2005. Structure and developmental changes in the tergal glands of adult females of coptotermes formosanus (isoptera, rhinotermitidae). Arthropod Structure and Development 34: 509-517.

Interpretive Summary: A pair of glands is present at the tip of the abdomen in adult females of the Formosan subterranean termite. We recently discovered that the glands produce a lipid component that may be acquired by the male during courtship. However, the exact function of these glands is not fully understood. For that, it is important to study the structure of these glands and correlate changes in the structure with sexual maturation of the female. We used light and electron microscopy to study the structure of these glands. The lipid component of the glands appeared to be produced in dense granules in the cells. These granules were absent in immature females. We also found tiny pores in the outer skin of the females that very likely are the site of excretion of the lipid material. The information will be useful to scientists studying excretory glands in insects and also in better understanding the sexual behavior in the Formosan subterranean termite.

Technical Abstract: Female alates of the Formosan subterranean termite Coptotermes formosanus, possess a pair of glands under the 9th and 10th abdominal tergites. These tergal glands located just below the cuticle have two distinct regions. The outer part is made up of epidermal cells with large nuclei, abundant mitochondria and bundles of microtubules. Apically the cells have convoluted membranes ending in tubular projections to the base of the cuticle. Ducts with thick cuticular walls traverse this area. The basal two thirds of the gland is composed of glandular cells of 'class 3". In the post-swarming female, these cells are packed with electron dense granules associated with mitochondria. The basal lamina has several conspicuous invaginations. In newly molted females, the glandular area has electron lucent granules. Formation and changes of the granules and possible mechanism of their release are discussed.

Last Modified: 11/25/2014
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